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Asbestos production quantities: how much asbestos was produced? This article describes the total quantity of asbestos that was mined and shipped world-wide, listing asbestos production by quantity and giving additional detail by asbestos type.

This articles series about the manufacture & use of asbestos-containing products includes detailed information on the production methods, asbestos content, and the identity and use of asbestos-containing materials.

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Asbestos Quantities Produced World-Wide in the 1950's

Crocidolite asbestos under the microscope (C) Daniel Friedman at McCrone Research InstituteThe method of mining, milling, and processing asbestos depends on the type of asbestos being handled as well as such specific physical characteristics as soft versus harsh fiber. Since chrysotile fiber accounts for approximately 95 per cent of all the asbestos used, this discussion will pertain to Canadian chrysotile.

Photo at left illustrates Crocidolite asbestos under the microscope, photo by Daniel Friedman while at McCrone Research Institute. [Click to enlarge any image]

For a satisfactory mining operation, the content of fiber in the rock should range from 3 to 12 per cent. Such variables as availability of labor, transportation facilities, and size of the deposit determine whether or not a low asbestos content mine will be a profitable operation.

Separately at ASBESTOS MINING & PROCESSING we describe how asbestos ores were mined & prepared for use in fabrication procedures that used asbestos fibers or other asbestos material.

Table 1.3 below gives the total world production of all types of asbestos by countries for the year 1956.

World Production of All Types of Asbestos - by Country for 1956
Table 1.3 Approximate Percentage of Asbestos Production Figures by Country for All Types of Raw Asbestos (in short tons) for 1956
Canada
1,050,000
Russia
700,000*
Union of South Africa
135,000
Rhodesia
119,000
United States
47,000
Italy
33,000
Switzerland
30,000
Finland
18,000
Yugoslavia
15,000
Cyprus
13,000
France (Corsica)
11,000
Japan
10,000
Australia
9,000
Venezuela
5,800
Brazil
3,300
Korea
1,000
Morocco
400
India
400
Formosa
400
Turkey
300
Kenya
200
* This figure of asbestos production for Russia represents an unofficial and unverified estimate. It includes 275,000 tons of grades 7 and 8 of asbestos material.

Table 1.4 below gives similar statistics to Table 1.3 for the amphibole fibers only.

TABLE 1.4. Production of Types of Amphibole Asbestos
By Country (in Short Tons) for 1956
Amosite Asbestos Asbestos Production Total Asbestos Produced
Union of South Africa

50,000

50,000 short tons

 
Crocidolite Asbestos

 

 

Union of South Africa

 

 

Cape Province

50,000

 

Transvaal

15,000

 

Australia

8,000

 

Total

 

73,000 short tons

 
Tremolite, Actinolite, Anthophyllite Asbestos
   
Finland
18,000
 
Yugoslavia
8,000
 
Japan
2,000
 
United States
2,000
 
Brazil
1,300
 
Italy
1000
 
Kenya
200
 

Total

 
32,500

Grand Total

 
155,500

Notes:

Adapted from Rosato (1959) p. 15

In Table 1.5 (below) we show how the Canadian growth of asbestos exports from 1946 to 1955 was reported.

TABLE 1.5. Annual Canadian Shipments of Chrysotile Asbestos
According to Asbestos Grade*
(2000lb tons) 1946-1955

Year
Crudes
Fiber
Shorts
Total Asbestos Shipped (2000 lb tons)
1946 742 228,234 329,205 558,181
1950 093 295,280 568.642 864,825
1955 572 353,510 667,983 1,022,065

* Province of Quebec, Canada, "General Review of Mining Industry of the Province of Quebec in 1955." (1957)

Adapted from Rosato (1959) p. 15

Table 1.6 below gives percentages of chrysotile world production and Canadian shipments for the year 1954.
Worldwide Percentages of Chrysotile Asbestos Produced in 1954

Table 1.6. Percentages of Chrysotile Asbestos Production
Worldwide Asbestos Shipments, 1954

Country
Percent of World Asbestos Production
Percent of Canadian Asbestos Production*
Canada
60.5
4
United States
3.1
70
South America
0.2
3.8
Western Europe
3.2
17.2
Asia
1.8
3
Africa
14.4
 
Australia
0.4
2
Russia
unknown
?
Other Countries
unknown
?
Totals  
100 !

Notes:

* The Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Feb. 1956

! This is not 100 percent of asbestos production because it does not include Russi8a, Communist Satellites, and some other countries

 

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